Steve Schwab will be sworn in Aug. 29

Published 4:06 pm Saturday, July 26, 2008

Albert Lea City Attorney Steve Schwab will be sworn in Aug. 29 as the new Third Judicial District Court judge at the Freeborn County Government Center. He will be seated on the bench Sept. 2.

“Steve brings a broad legal background and a demonstrated willingness to take on an additional workload to the bench,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said during the announcement of Schwab’s appointment earlier this month. “He will be an immediate asset to the judicial system in the disposition of the court’s large caseload.”

Schwab, who has worked as the Albert Lea city attorney since 1989, replaces Judge James E. Broberg, who retired April 29.

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Albert Lea City Manager Victoria Simonsen said since Schwab’s appointment, the city has put in an ad for a new city attorney.

City staff have been doing research of other cities similar in size to Albert Lea and have found that Albert Lea is one of only two communities that actually have attorneys on staff. Most others cities now work through firms.

Simonsen said she would still like to interview both ways — for an individual and for a firm — and she anticipates there will be two different interview panels for the applicants.

The first panel would consist of people such as herself, Police Chief Dwaine Winkels, the attorney’s assistant and a representative from the Albert Lea City Council, to name a few.

The second panel would consist of people the attorney would work closely with on a regular basis, including a representative from the Crime Victims Crisis Center, a court administrator and other representatives from the county.

“This is not something where a hole comes open very often, so you want to make sure you find the right person,” Simonsen said.

She anticipates an about two-to-four-week gap in time from when Schwab is seated on the bench to when the new attorney would begin. During that period, the Freeborn County attorney has offered to take on the criminal cases, she said.

Schwab is preparing a list of questions for the interviews, which will be toward the second half of August.

She said city staff are planning something to recognize Schwab for his time in the position.